Released: 2007, Firebox
Terhen, originally known as Thamuz, formed in 2004, recording a four song demo of songs encapsulating interests that reached towards black/death metal. Strangely for the type of music that they play, their next career move was to record a track for a Beijing fashion show. Shortly after, the band recorded another demo, “Self Crusifixion MMV,” a three song demo that landed them their current record deal and led to the release at hand. Fans of atmospheric doom on a grand scale should take note of EYES UNFOLDED. What unravels through five songs and fifty-five minutes is an artistic tapestry of melancholy that will crawl beneath the skin.
The album opener, “influences,” is a dark, plodding number that stretches its legs for over thirteen minutes, burying the listener with its somber mood. Ambient keyboards and some subtle electronics fill in the spaces between the sparse, distorted guitar chords and slow beats, giving one the chance to wallow in the sadness of the song’s sound. The guitars are strongly reminiscent of My Dying Bride albums around THE ANGEL AND THE DARK RIVER or LIKE GODS OF THE SUN. “Six months,” at just under eight minutes, is a more direct song than the opener. There is a bit of double bass pummeling, a few more guitar leads, and a larger dose of heaviness, all of which leads to a greater sense of despair. Gothic keyboards take the spotlight as the third track slowly flows towards an angry feel, occasionally interrupted by the enchantingly haunting female vocals of Elisa Pellinen, which works in perfect counterpoint to the death growls of front man, Jyri Pylvänäinen. “What truly is real” fits the pattern of its predecessors, long and spacious, but this time there is a bit of deep, spoken word to get things started, and a beautifully sad piano interlude in the middle of the song, accompanied by the sound of wind and water that adds to the depressive mood. The dark journey ends with perhaps the most melodic piece offered, “wandering.” Elisa Pellinen takes the key moments of this track with a memorable vocal line that repeats like a chorus, giving this track, at times a feel reminiscent of moments on The Gathering’s albums like MANDYLION or NIGHTTIME BIRDS.
Those willing to bathe in a wash of downhearted doom will find this album a fit companion for your gloomier days. Think of foggy and brutally cold winter evenings and the chill that they can create, and you will have an understanding of what listening to EYES UNFOLDED will be like. Artful darkness is rarely composed as well as Terhen’s debut album.